Shanna Hogan, best known for writing The New York Times bestselling true crime book Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story, died after nearly drowning at her home in Arizona, as reported by the Phoenix New Times. She was 37.
Hogan is survived by her husband of nearly 20 years, Matt LaRussa, and their 15-month-old son, Zander. Hogan was swimming in their backyard pool with Zander on August 27, when she fell, hit her head, and was found by LaRussa head-down, submerged in the water.
Zander was found still in his life vest and safely outside the pool, but LaRussa had no idea how long Hogan was in the water unconscious. He performed CPR before she was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Hogan spent nearly a week in the ICU but never regained consciousness. After she died on September 2, her family made the decision to donate her organs. “I wanted as much of her in this world as possible, and I can someday meet the recipients,” LaRussa said in a quote provided by Christia Gibbons to AZ Central.
“Her light, though, will continue to shine on us all,” said Gibbons, a former teacher and close friend of Hogan shared on Facebook. “We are better people for having had her in our lives.”
A GoFundMe Fundraiser Was Set Up for Hogan’s Husband & Son
A GoFundMe page was created by Kathleen Mayer on behalf of LaRussa in order to pay for her medical treatments and funeral costs. As of September 8, the campaign has raised nearly $17,000 of the $100,000 goal. The GoFundMe states:
Wife, mother, friend and talented author Shanna Hogan lost her life tragically in August after a fall and accidental drowning at her Phoenix home. She received extensive medical treatments in ICU to attempt to save her life, but her brain suffered too much damage and we lost this wonderful woman…
This fundraiser will raise money to pay for the family’s extensive medical bills, memorial costs and to support Zander as he grows up without a mother. Please help us help this amazing family. Shanna was always there for her family, friends, co-workers and readers with her warm smile and support. Now is our time to step up and be there for her family. Please help us in any way you can to reach our goal. If you are not in a position to donate at this time, please share this with everyone you know. We will never forget the mark Shanna left on our lives and on this world.
Hogan Was an Award-Winning Journalist, Beloved Professor & Author of 4 Books
Hogan won over 20 awards during her career as a journalist. As stated on Hogan’s website, she was named Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club in 2010 and by the Arizona Newspaper Association in 2011. Her work as an investigative reporter has brought her to be a guest on The View, Dateline, 20/20, CNN, HLN, Fox News, Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen and Investigation Discovery.
In addition to Picture Perfect, Hogan authored Dancing with Death: The True Story of a Glamorous Showgirl, her Wealthy Husband, and a Horrifying Murder; The Stranger She Loved: A Mormon Doctor, His Beautiful Wife, and an Almost Perfect Murder; and Secrets of a Marine’s Wife: A True Story of Marriage, Obsession, and Murder.
Sharlene Martin, Hogan’s literary manager said that even after she received critical acclaim for Picture Perfect she remained incredibly humble. “She was probably one of the most grateful authors I’ve ever represented,” Martin said. “Everything that was done for her, every step forward in her career, she had such gratitude for.”
Following Hogan’s death, her friend Katie Mayer told People, “Shanna was a talented writer with a gift for beautiful descriptions and compelling narratives. Her extraordinary style of storytelling drew you in as a reader, while her warmth drew in those she wrote about so they felt comfortable sharing their most personal stories with her.
“She had another book planned as well as a screenplay in progress and she was so excited about these projects,” Mayer continued. “As a college instructor, she loved not only teaching but having fun in the classroom. She brought a zany sense of humor and so much laughter to her students.”